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College Basketball Sport

Louisville and Ohio State Start to Rise Above Other Teams


Men’s college basketball has had no dominant teams so far this season. But finally, certain teams are separating themselves from the rest of the pack.

Those teams have been more consistent than others and maximized early-season opportunities. They could be near the top of the polls from now until the seeding of the N.C.A.A. tournament.

Louisville is playing elite defense. The Cardinals held Michigan and Pittsburgh to an average of 44.5 points in two wins last week. Louisville also held both teams to a shooting average of 31.5 percent and 19 percent from 3-point range. “We’re a lot more connected on that end of the floor than we were last year,” said Louisville Coach Chris Mack, who is in his second season with the Cardinals. “We have older guys who have gotten so much better defensively.” Louisville is the top team in the Associated Press Top 25.

Ohio State has been the most impressive team during the first month. The Buckeyes have beaten Villanova, Cincinnati and Penn State at home to go with a 25-point rout of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Those four victories have come by an average of 22.5 points. Ohio State will face Kentucky on Dec. 21 at the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas, and will take on West Virginia on Dec. 29 in Cleveland. The 2020 N.C.A.A. tournament is still months away, but Ohio State is putting itself in position for a top seed.

Gonzaga has had no drop-off. The Bulldogs lost four starters from last season’s team that lost in a regional final to Texas Tech; yet they are 10-1 following a win at Washington on Sunday night. Their only defeat came against Michigan at the Battle 4 Atlantis. All five of Gonzaga’s starters scored in double figures against the Huskies. This team doesn’t have the star power it possessed a year ago with two eventual first-round N.B.A. draft picks in Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke, but it is still capable of going deep in the N.C.A.A. tournament.

UConn returns to Madison Square Garden. The Huskies face Indiana as part of the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday. UConn has won five of its last six games after giving up 96 points in a loss to St. Joseph’s on Nov. 13. The Hoosiers are coming off a 20-point defeat at Wisconsin on Saturday. Louisville will play Texas Tech in the other game of the doubleheader.

Baylor takes a shot at undefeated Butler. The defense for Butler has been tremendous to start the season. In two games last week against Mississippi and Florida, Butler held the Rebels and the Gators to an average of 60 points. “We’ve been locked on that side of the floor,” Butler Coach LaVall Jordan said. “The thing I like about this team is everybody seems to know their roles.” Baylor is the top challenger to Kansas in the Big 12 and an off-the-radar contender to reach the Final Four.

Illinois needs a good win. The Illini outplayed Maryland for 39 minutes on Saturday before losing by 1 point in College Park. Now, they get Michigan on Wednesday night in Champaign. Illinois has yet to beat a high-major opponent this season. This will be Michigan Coach Juwan Howard’s first true road game in Big Ten play. He won his conference opener on Friday night against Iowa in Ann Arbor.

  • Kentucky’s next marquee opponent might be Ohio State in two weeks. The Wildcats, though, have some Power 5 competition before then with Georgia Tech and Utah. Kentucky hasn’t met a team from a power conference since it opened the season with a win over Michigan State.

  • The skilled, versatile Xavier junior Naji Marshall is on the verge of becoming a star. Marshall scored 31 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had five steals on Saturday against Cincinnati. He is 6 of 15 from 3-point range during his last two games. “There’s nothing he can’t do,” Xavier Coach Travis Steele said of the 6-foot-7 Marshall.

  • Memphis Coach Penny Hardaway has the Tigers at 8-1 over all despite the suspended freshman center James Wiseman appearing in only three games. The freshman guard Lester Quinones has played in only six games because of a hand injury. Memphis’s game on Saturday against rival Tennessee in Knoxville will be appointment television.

  • Purdue is significantly better than its 6-3 record. The Boilermakers could have easily won all the games they lost, and the defeats came against quality teams: Texas, Marquette and Florida State. “All three of those teams are going to have a chance to go to the N.C.A.A. tournament,” Purdue Coach Matt Painter said. “We like playing those games because those teams are different than us. Those styles are different than what we see in the Big Ten.” One thing that’s important to remember: Purdue was 6-5 last December and wound up winning 26 games and advancing to a regional final, where it lost to the eventual national champion, Virginia.

  • Quentin Grimes is starting to get into a rhythm for Houston after transferring from Kansas. Grimes was the best player on the floor in the Cougars’ 20-point win at South Carolina on Sunday and is averaging 20.7 points over his last three games. Coach Kelvin Sampson will most likely have this team ranked by mid-January.

  • The Mountain West Conference is quietly making a comeback. Its three top teams — Utah State, San Diego State and New Mexico — have wins over programs from power conferences and have a combined record of 28-3. “We’re all in this thing together,” San Diego State Coach Brian Dutcher said. “It’s not about our own team winning quality games in November and December; it’s about the whole league winning quality games. That’s how we become quality games for each other in league play.”

  • Rhode Island’s Fatts Russell, 5-10 junior, is playing like the best guard in the Atlantic 10. He has scored 20 or more points in seven consecutive games and is averaging 21.4 points this season. “I’ve never had a guard who had a stretch like this,” Rhode Island Coach David Cox said. Russell was a freshman two years ago when the Rams won a game in the N.C.A.A. tournament.

  • Cincinnati needs Jarron Cumberland to regain his previous form if it wants to play in the N.C.A.A. tournament for the 10th consecutive season. Cumberland, a preseason all-American, has had nagging injuries and is averaging only 13.9 points. He averaged 18.8 points last season, when the Bearcats won 28 games.

All times are Eastern.

TUESDAY Louisville vs. Texas Tech (7 p.m., ESPN), Maryland at Penn State (7 p.m., ESPN2), Butler at Baylor (9 p.m., ESPN2), Indiana vs. UConn (9 p.m., ESPN)

WEDNESDAY Michigan at Illinois (9 p.m., Big Ten Network)

THURSDAY Iowa at Iowa State (8 p.m., ESPN2)



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Business DealBook

Don’t Let the Wrong State Get Between You and Your Assets


Other states require that beneficiaries be told of the trust on their 18th or 21st birthday. In Delaware, a person could be kept in the dark until 30 or 40 or later.

“Parents don’t want to tell someone at 18 that they have this multimillion-dollar trust if they can wait until their mid-20s or early 30s,” said Joshua S. Miller, senior wealth strategist and managing director at CIBC Private Wealth in Boston. “They want kids to get out of college, get a job, start working a bit, mature.”

Mr. Miller said he counseled clients not to let a trust be silent for too long. “A silent trust is a tool,” he said. “I feel strongly that values, legacy and stewardship are really important. I ask clients, ‘Are you able to talk openly about your wealth?’”

Long ago, people went to foreign jurisdictions, like Switzerland or the Cayman Islands, to protect their wealth from creditors. But states have long since caught up, with Delaware, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Dakota revamping their trust laws to compete for high-net-worth individuals who want to shield their assets.

No state allows money to be shuffled into a trust in response to a lawsuit, a practice called fraudulent conveyance. But several states allow the transfer of money into a trust that would be protected after a period of, say, 18 months. A legitimate use could be by doctors or contactors who might be sued in the course of their career.

The money, though, cannot be commingled with other assets, said Matthew Hochstetler, a trusts and estates lawyer at David J. Simmons & Associates who practices in Ohio and Florida. And the process needs to look reasonable. He said he would advise clients to move no more than 50 percent of their wealth into an asset protection trust.

Bankruptcy judges do not look kindly on people who have separated assets for protection in a state like Nevada and cannot pay their debts in the state where they live.



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Business Energy & Environment

Calculating Air Pollution’s Death Toll, Across State Lines


Here’s further proof that air pollution ignores borders: In most states, about half of the premature deaths caused by poor air quality are linked to pollutants that blow in from other states, a new study found.

The study investigated the sources and effects of two major pollutants that harm humans, ozone and fine airborne particles, in the lower 48 states from 2005 to 2018. It found that in New York, nearly two-thirds of premature deaths are attributable to pollution from sources in other states. That makes the state the largest “net importer” of early deaths, to use the researchers’ term.

Ozone and fine particles are a result of fuel burning, so the analysis, published Wednesday in Nature, could have implications for policymakers looking for ways to reduce air pollution, and premature mortality, by regulating so-called cross-state emissions. So far only emissions from electric power generation are regulated in this way, but the study looked at six other sources of pollutants, including other industries, road transportation, aviation and commercial and residential sources like heating for homes and buildings.

“We know air quality is bad in many ways, and if we want to continue to improve it we need to understand what the causes are and what the effects are and to target the biggest contributors,” said Steven R.H. Barrett, director of the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an author of the study.

Scientists have long known that air pollution from one area can have effects elsewhere. Damage to forests by acid rain in the Northeast in the 1960s was linked to coal-burning power plants in other regions, for example.

The new study, by Dr. Barrett, Irene C. Dedoussi of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and others, quantifies the effects of each state on every other, using pollution data and computer models to track pollution in the atmosphere. “It’s putting a head count on it,” Dr. Barrett said.

The study found that the states that emitted pollution that caused the most early deaths in other states were in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Ozone and fine particles emitted in Wyoming and North Dakota, for example, lead to few deaths per capita in those states. But the pollution is carried eastward by the prevailing winds, leading to more deaths elsewhere.

The analysis also found a decline in cross-state deaths linked to electricity generation since 2005, an indication that pollution regulations, like the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, are working. The rule, established in 2011, requires about 27 states, mostly in the eastern half of the country, to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which lead to formation of ozone and fine particles.

Premature deaths linked to pollution from road transportation have also declined with the adoption of more efficient fuel standards and emissions controls. But the declines have not been as great as with electricity generation, Dr. Barrett said, because it takes years to replace the nation’s entire fleet of vehicles with cleaner ones.

As a result of the drop in early deaths linked to power generation and road transportation, the overall effect of cross-state pollution has declined, the study said. But at the same time, residential and commercial emissions are now the leading cause of cross-state early deaths, a finding that came as a surprise to the researchers.

“They may not have seemed so important 10 or 20 years ago, but these commercial and residential emissions now look really important, in big part because progress has been made in other sectors,” Dr. Barrett said. “Future research and future policy are going to have to bear down on these emissions and start controlling them,” he said.

The study did not look at pollution from wildfires, which increasingly contribute to poor air quality in the United States. “They are currently less important for the long-term averages that affect human health the most,” Dr. Barrett said. “That might change in the future if wildfires become more common under a changing climate.”

Michael Brauer, an environmental health specialist at the University of British Columbia in Canada who was not involved in the study, said the findings show that work needs to be done to reduce pollution from smaller sources like commercial buildings and homes.

Decreases in early deaths from pollution from larger sources like power plants, he said, are “a result of the effectiveness of federal regulations.”

“The cross-state rule was really pretty effective,” he added. “We need to not relax rules like that.”

Dr. Barrett said that it was not until he and his colleagues did all their calculations that he realized how much progress had been made on electric power generation. “It really has been the thing the E.P.A. has been working hard on improving,” he said.

Efforts by the Trump administration to overturn some regulations — although the White House has supported the cross-state rule — are potentially concerning, Dr. Barrett said. “It could be pretty worrying if those changes have time to take hold,” he said.

For more climate news sign up for the Climate Fwd: newsletter or follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.



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Middle East World

A Police State With an Islamist Twist: Inside Hifter’s Libya


BENGHAZI, Libya — The field marshal stares from billboards into the wreckage of the Libyan city of Benghazi. His uniform is festooned with epaulets and honors, even as the civil war he is waging has stalled into a bloody stalemate.

His plainclothes security agents loiter and listen in cafes and hotel lobbies. He has handed control of the mosques to extremist preachers. And he has showered patronage on a tribal death squad called the Avengers of Blood, blamed for a long string of disappearances and killings of his political opponents.

“We are living in a prison,” said Ahmed Sharkasi, a liberal activist from Benghazi who fled to Tunis because of threats on his life.

Khalifa Hifter, the 76-year-old commander known in his dominion as “the marshal,” is the military ruler of eastern Libya. He has been fighting for nearly six years to take control of the country, and he has been waging an assault on the capital, Tripoli, for the last 10 months.

The United Arab Emirates, Egypt and others have lined up behind him, and Russia has sent mercenaries. The largely powerless United Nations-sponsored government in Tripoli is defended mainly by regional militias and, recently, Turkey, which has flown in hundreds of paid Syrian fighters.

Mr. Hifter has cut off Libya’s oil production for the past month to try to deprive the Tripoli government of revenue. This week he began shelling its civilian port, killing three people, narrowly missing a ship loaded with liquefied natural gas and derailing United Nations-sponsored cease-fire talks.

Mr. Hifter has promised to build a stable, democratic and secular Libya, but he has largely shut Western journalists out of his territory. A rare visit there by a New York Times correspondent and photographer revealed an unwieldy authoritarianism that in many ways is both more puritanical and more lawless than Libya was under its last dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

In Mr. Hifter’s Benghazi stronghold, we found a half-ruined city beset by corruption, where security agents trailed foreign journalists, residents cowered in fear of arbitrary arrest, and pro-government militias answered to no one.

Residents complain of corruption and self-enrichment by tribal militia leaders and former Qaddafi officers. There are reports of unexplained bombings, abductions and detentions without trial. Islamist extremists have taken over the mosques and may be infiltrating the police force.

“Everyone is afraid, even afraid of their fellow citizens,” one Benghazi resident said, speaking on condition of anonymity for his safety.

Jonathan Winer, a special envoy to Libya under President Obama, described a brutal system. “If you are with Hifter then you are under his umbrella and you can do whatever you want,” he said. “If you aren’t, you are an enemy and you may be jailed, killed or exiled.”

The United Nations Secretary General warned last month of “a deterioration of law and order” in eastern Libya, “including numerous cases of crimes and intimidation,” reportedly by groups affiliated with Mr. Hifter’s forces.

Aging and distracted, Mr. Hifter is seldom seen in Benghazi. He presides from his mountain home an hour’s drive to the West. He holds salons with tribal elders and depends on family as his closest advisers. Two of his sons are among his top military commanders, as well as his caretakers.

“They make sure he is well fed,” said Faraj Najem, a director of a government-run research center who is close to Mr. Hifter. “They make sure he takes his medicine. They provide him with security when they are around him.”

The center of Benghazi is little different today than it was in 2017, when Mr. Hifter seized it after a four-year campaign of shelling and bombing.

Neighborhoods on the periphery now bustle with newly opened stores and cafes. But the streets of the city center are crumbling ruins. A few desperate residents have begun returning with their families to squat in the wreckage of their former apartments. Their crude light fixtures cast an eerie, nighttime glow on the desolate alleys.

Libya is rich with oil, but it is a volatile prize. It has been in turmoil since an Arab Spring revolt and NATO’s intervention toppled Colonel el-Qaddafi nine years ago. Its deserts shelter Islamist militants, and its Mediterranean coastline teems with migrants.

Mr. Hifter had served as an officer in Colonel el-Qaddafi’s army, but later fled to the United States where he lived for decades as a C.I.A. client before returning to Libya during the uprising in 2011.

He began his drive for power by promising to save Benghazi. In 2014, when Islamist militias were terrorizing the city, he vowed to declare military rule and rid the country of Islamists.

Armed by foreign sponsors, he started by recruiting fighters from local tribes and welcoming the help of former Qaddafi officers and officials.

Then he won the support of Saudi-style Islamist fighters — known as Salafists — who saw a common enemy in the rival schools of Islamists that Mr. Hifter was battling. He has never acknowledged any contradiction between his avowed hostility to political Islam and his brigades of Salafists.

The deals he struck with tribal militias, Salafists and former Qaddafi henchmen in Benghazi now threaten to run roughshod over his promises of secular law and order.

Many Benghazi residents celebrate Mr. Hifter for restoring security to the streets, an attitude reinforced in his official media. Images of Mr. Hifter’s face are ubiquitous. A pro-Hifter satellite television network broadcasts his propaganda and sometimes Salafist sermons. Weekly street demonstrations, organized by the government’s Office of Supporting Decisions, recall Qaddafi-era displays of forced enthusiasm.

On one recent Friday, about two dozen adults and an equal number of children marched for about 150 yards while holding photographs of Mr. Hifter. Then everyone settled listlessly into plastic chairs and chanted profanities about the president of Turkey.

During an interview, a spokesman for Mr. Hifter required a visiting journalist to watch a video of more than a dozen gruesome beheadings.

“Some of the terrorists are now in Tripoli and hiding in the militias there,” the spokesman, Col. Ahmed Mismari, said. “That is why we decided to go to Tripoli.”

Access to Benghazi by foreign journalists or rights goups is severely restricted. Residents must obtain official permission to travel abroad, sometimes requiring interrogation by security agents. Some are forced to submit reports about who they met outside Libya — or, sometimes, on friends and neighbors at home.

Mr. Hifter leans heavily on members of the old Qaddafi machine, and a surge of former Qaddafi loyalists have rushed back from Egypt and elsewhere over the previous 10 months.

With Mr. Hifter focused on Tripoli, the most powerful figure in the day-to-day governance is widely considered to be Aoun Ferjani, a former senior officer in the Qaddafi intelligence service who is now in charge of the internal security agencies.

“Don’t even mention his name,” one former official in Mr. Hifter’s government said, looking anxiously over his shoulder. “He is the boss. He is the most dangerous.”

Opposition views are not welcome.

Mr. Sharkasi, the activist now living in Tunis, was forced to flee Benghazi after he posted an online video urging peace talks and circulated the hashtag “War is not the solution.” Other critics have been detained or suspended from jobs at government-run companies.

Last July, a British-educated politician, Seham Sergiwa, 57, publicly questioned Mr. Hifter’s assault on Tripoli. A group of armed men abducted her that night. They spray-painted a warning against criticizing the army on the wall of her house.

Her relatives outside Libya said the power was cut before the attack and the police had ignored calls for help. Most family members now believe she is dead. But the Benghazi authorities have told her husband that they believe she is alive and advised him to keep quiet.

“All the evidence points to Hifter,” said her brother, Adam Sergiwa, a doctor living in Indiana. “We know that. Everybody knows that. He wanted to teach a lesson.”

A spokesman for Mr. Hifter called the killing an act of terrorism and said that his military had nothing to do with it.

Another former Qaddafi associate now working with Mr. Hifter is the former Air Force Gen. Muhammad el-Madani el-Fakri. Mr. Hifter authorized General el-Madani el-Fakri to create a for-profit investment arm for Mr. Hifter’s military.

He seized prime real estate, imposed a $500 entry fee for foreign workers, and claimed a lucrative monopoly on the sale of scrap metal. But he also used his position to press for a personal stake in private ventures, according to Western diplomats and Benghazi businessmen.

Mr. Najem, of the government-funded research center, insisted that the general had been sidelined because of abuses, but Mr. el-Madani el-Fakri served as Mr. Hifter’s representative at recent United Nations cease-fire talks.

The modest mosque in the Benghazi neighborhood of El Leithi was once a hub for leaders of Ansar al Shariah, the jihadists who carried out the 2012 attack that killed the American ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

These days, noon prayers are often led by Ali el-Omani, a 23-year-old Salafist with a bearded baby face. Like other extremists, the Salafists backing Mr. Hifter oppose liberal ways like electoral democracy or the mixing of the sexes. Unlike their jihadist cousins, though, these Salafists preach absolute obedience to an earthly ruler, in this case Mr. Hifter.

“For sure the army supports us,” said Mr. Omani, insisting that the Salafis had restored “the true teaching of the Quran.”

Benghazi liberals complain that the Salafis are scarcely an improvement.

“The Salafis want to ‘purify’ Libya just like Ansar al Sharia tried to,” said Fathi Baja, a political scientist and former Libyan ambassador to Canada.

The Salafists now boast of their control of Benghazi’s mosques and religious broadcasting.

Salafist brigades under Mr. Hifter have demolished shrines and lodges belonging to Sufis, practitioners of a Muslim mysticism that ultraconservatives consider heresy, including another one leveled last month in the city of Surt.

Salafist fighters shut down a celebration of Earth Day, also deemed heretical. And a general close to the Salafists tried to ban women from traveling without a male guardian, an order later rescinded after an outcry.

Some of Mr. Hifter’s supporters argue that he is using the Salafists in a temporary alliance of necessity and keeping them in check. They point to a locally notorious episode in 2018 when police officers raided a meet-up of female Twitter users at a Benghazi cafe. A top security official apologized and Mr. Hifter reassigned the Salafi police commander who had been in charge.

But Lt. Col. Naji Hamad, a Qaddafi-era veteran who now runs the Benghazi police academy, said the operation was legitimate. The meet-up violated “public decency,” he said.

Although no longer a battleground, Benghazi is hardly free of violence.

A car bomb in August killed three U.N. staff members and two others. The United Nations pulled its diplomats from the city.

U.N. reports warn of frequent kidnappings, forced disappearances and assassinations by unknown assailants. In the second half of last year, that included the killing of a bank employee, the kidnapping of a prominent lawyer and the abduction of the official in charge of policing corruption. Two Sudanese women were tortured and killed on suspicion of practicing witchcraft.

In October, a mass grave was uncovered in the Benghazi neighborhood of Hawarri.

Responsibility for the violence is impossible to determine, but many Benghazi residents point to tribal militias that fought with Mr. Hifter.

One of the biggest sources of fighters was the Awaqir tribe. Members of the tribe now boast of their impunity, and some have claimed prime jobs in government-owned companies or even the local university.

“The Awaqir are the big beneficiaries,” said Mr. Najem, the director of the research center. “They claim that they have paid a dear price — too many martyrs — and they want the rewards.”

Awaqirs formed the Avengers of Blood in 2013 to seek revenge after a deadly clash with an Islamist-leaning militia. The Avengers became known as enforcers for Mr. Hifter, widely blamed for disappearances and killings.

A spokesman for Mr. Hifter said the Avengers were unarmed civilians who collected information about “terrorists.”

But during the abduction of Ms. Sergiwa, her attackers scrawled the name of the Avengers of Blood on the wall.

A prominent Awaqir militia leader often linked to the Avengers declined to comment.

The militia leader, Ezzedine el-Waqwaq, said he was busy with civilian matters. In the construction industry before 2013, he was appointed to the potentially lucrative role of director of the Benghazi airport after Mr. Hifter captured the city.

Now Mr. el-Waqwaq has an even better job: director of a popular Benghazi soccer team, Al Nasr.



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College Basketball Sport

How Cassius Winston Greets His Late Brother Before Every Michigan State Game


The quiet gesture from Cassius Winston goes largely unnoticed amid the hysteria at the start of another Michigan State basketball game.

Just before tipoff, Winston greets his teammates at midcourt. Then he turns away, slaps his right hand toward the air in front of him, slides it near his left shoulder and leans forward, hopping into a shoulder bump.

The new pregame routine for Winston, the all-American point guard and team captain, isn’t to pump himself up. It’s a greeting he developed in high school, one he used almost daily. It is a handshake, and one of the many examples of how his habits — and the Spartans’ — have changed after the suicide of his brother Zachary in November.

“He’s out there with me,” Cassius Winston said, recounting how he and his younger brother developed the handshake. The shoulder bump was their third option for the finish. They were going to snap, but Zachary didn’t know how. They were going to clap, but Cassius had a broken left wrist at the time. “He’s out there with me on the floor, and we’re going to make it through together.”

Adjusting to the grief has not been easy for Winston or the team, which started the season ranked No. 1 and had regarded Zachary Winston, who played at Division III Albion College, as family. It has taken a toll, as well, on Tom Izzo, the Hall of Fame coach who has led Michigan State since 1995.

Izzo’s tenure includes the highs of an N.C.A.A. championship and eight Final Four appearances, but no interpersonal challenge quite like the suicide of a player’s family member.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve gone through,” Izzo said, adding: “It has been way worse than I have let on.”

Izzo has been slow at times to chastise Winston for on-court mistakes, fearful that it might be too much for the player to handle. Sometimes, when the team is celebrating a win in the locker room, the mood changes when Winston enters because, as Izzo said, “You don’t feel good about feeling good.”

Winston is aware of these moments, the sudden shifts. He tries his best not to allow the grief he is working through to dictate his team’s feelings. When it happens anyway, he feels guilty for letting his sadness become too evident in front of teammates and coaches who mean well and are trying to help him heal. The university has assigned the team a grief counselor.

Izzo asks Winston to give him signs when things are O.K., or when they aren’t. Sometimes, during practice, Winston’s mind will wander and he will think of his brother. Those are the times he struggles the most, he said.

He wants to be upfront with Izzo and his teammates, whose jerseys include a patch bearing Zachary Winston’s nickname, Smoothie, which Winston also writes on his sneakers and in occasional Instagram posts. Sometimes being upfront is not possible because Winston doesn’t know himself how he feels.

“It’s really confusing, and it’s hard to really focus on one thing because your mind is just jumping all over the place,” Winston said. “Usually you know yourself, you know when you’re ready, you know when you’re not ready. But when you’re confused and when everything’s happening so fast, it’s kind of hard to stay focused.”

Izzo said he has often felt devoid of good answers. In the past, he would turn to his former boss and mentor, Jud Heathcote, who led the program before he did. But the death by suicide has demanded a different level of understanding, Izzo said, because close family members sometimes blame themselves.

“I have no book for this. I’ll look up at Jud and say, ‘Where’s the chapter?’” Izzo said, adding an expletive directed at Heathcote, who died in 2017, to punctuate his frustration. “There’s no chapter on suicide.”

Izzo tells Winston to call him any time, if he needs someone to listen. But because he hasn’t personally coped with the suicide of a loved one, he feels that he can only do so much.

Izzo sought advice from the former N.F.L. coach Tony Dungy, whose son killed himself in 2005. The former coach is among a number of people who have told Izzo that at some point, he needs to establish some normalcy for the team, whatever that may look like moving forward. (When contacted for this article, Dungy said he preferred to keep his communication with Izzo between them.)

Izzo checks in with Winston each night with calls or texts, knowing that those are the times when Winston is likely to be alone in his apartment. Sometimes their conversations turn to basketball. Mostly, they are not about wins and losses on the court.

“You lose and there’s people mad at you and it’s death to people and we try to make games life and death, and they’re not,” Izzo said. “Even some of those things, as traumatic as they can be, they’re not life and death. And this — what makes it different — is life and death.”

Winston has pushed to maintain his leadership role with the team, while continuing to learn about himself with patience and persistence.

Time and his teammates have helped him heal. The process requires daily attention. Winston has learned to direct his sadness toward something positive. Some days are easier than others, but the process has allowed him to look at his life, basketball and his relationship with his late brother in a completely new way. And in the moments when he needs reminding that he isn’t alone, Winston, who graduated from Michigan State in three years with a bachelor’s degree in advertising management and is pursuing a master’s degree in sport coaching and leadership, remembers the elements of his new game day routine. In addition to the handshake, he also calls his parents, Wendi and Reg, and his other brother, Khy, before each game to make sure they are in a good space emotionally.

“The more that you see him play, the more that you realize that even if he’s not back to normal, that it’s getting there,” Khy Winston, a freshman at Albion College, told The Lansing State Journal on Sunday after his brother had a career-high 32 points against Michigan. “Every day is a different day. For today to be a good day is a good day for everyone. Just to see him finally get the groove back brings a smile to my face.”

Winston said speaking with them gave him peace of mind before stepping on the floor. Still, his thoughts are never far from Zachary.

“All the memories I have of him are good memories, and that’s all you can really ask,” Winston said. “There’s no bad memories. There’s nothing I regret. I appreciate what he did in my life, and I appreciate our relationship, so that’s my way of showing that I’m still out here, I’m still going hard for him and one day we’re going to see him again.”

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.



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Africa World

‘The State Against Mandela and the Others’ Review: Sounds of Injustice


The trial for sabotage and a conspiracy to violently overthrow the government of South Africa that earned Nelson Mandela a life sentence in 1964 was not filmed. But its audio component was recorded; 256 hours of it, according to this film. “The State Against Mandela and the Others,” a documentary about that trial and its aftermath directed by Nicolas Champeaux and Gilles Porte, has clever, effective means of compensating for the absence of visual documentation. One is animation.

In striking black-and-white renderings that look like charcoal drawings, scenes from the trial are depicted, sometimes metaphorically. A judge upbraiding the anti-apartheid activist Mandela is drawn in an outsize fashion so as to dwarf the defendant. One is reminded of the animated “Before the Law” sequence that prefaces Orson Welles’s film of Kafka’s “The Trial.”

The movie also features interviews with surviving co-defendants and comrades of Mandela, all of them filmed with headphones around their necks. Periodically they put these on, listen to the trial audio and comment on it.

No visuals can compete with Mandela’s voice at the trial: “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realized. But my Lord, if it need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Mandela did not die before effecting a huge change in his still-traumatized country. This movie sheds a valuable light on his struggle. In its final scene, four aged survivors of that struggle reunite and talk over ideals and old times. They catch footage of Donald J. Trump on television and their eyes light up, as if they’ve seen his like before.

The State Against Mandela and the Others
Not rated. In English and French, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes.



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Asia Pacific World

U.S. Designates China’s Official Media as Operatives of the Communist State


WASHINGTON — For years they have operated as news organizations in the United States, deploying scores of journalists to cover the major events of the day and to report back to their readers and viewers at home, even if the most important of those was the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

Now, the Trump administration has declared them not practitioners of journalism, but rather operatives of the Chinese state.

The State Department informed China on Tuesday that its five foremost news agencies — Xinhua, CGTN, China Radio, China Daily and The People’s Daily — will now officially be treated as foreign government functionaries, subject to the same rules as diplomats stationed in the United States. The new action was described Tuesday afternoon by a senior State Department official.

The decision — debated in Washington for years but never carried out, in part because of concerns over restricting the freedom of the press — comes at a time when the administration has moved aggressively on multiple fronts to fight what officials describe as extensive Chinese influence and intelligence operations in the United States.

In the last month alone, prosecutors have brought cases against Chinese intelligence operations involving scientific research at Harvard and the 2017 hack of Equifax, one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies. They also charged Huawei, the telecommunications company, and two of its subsidiaries with federal racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secrets.

The legal assault on Chinese entities has unfolded even as bilateral tensions have flared over China’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic, which prompted the evacuation of American diplomats and other citizens from Wuhan, the city in central China at the source of the outbreak. It is part of a concerted effort to put new pressure on China’s government barely a month after President Trump signed a temporary truce in the trade war he started.

China’s critics in Washington, some of whom have long called for action against the country’s state media, hailed the decision.

At the same time, the decision could lead to retaliation against American journalists who work in China, especially those affiliated with the United States government, like Voice of America.

“China has long masked intelligence operations with journalistic credentials,” said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, echoing a suspicion held in national security circles.

“The danger is China could reciprocate against our journalists,” he said. “The difference is our journalists in China are actually journalists.”

The immediate impact of the designation remained unclear.

One administration official said the designation would not immediately interfere with the work of the organizations or their employees. It would, however, require China to register all of them with the State Department, as they now must do with diplomats in the Chinese Embassy in Washington or in consulates around the country.

The official said that news organizations were included because they were “substantially owned and effectively controlled” by China’s government.

The American government has already targeted some of the news agencies under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires anyone lobbying on behalf of foreign governments to submit regular reports on their activities to the Justice Department.

Partly in response to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the administration has forced parts of China’s official propaganda apparatus to register. They included CGTN, the English-language channel of China Central Television, Beijing’s main domestic network, which was forced to register beginning last year. One of the others, China Daily, has been registered as a foreign agent since 1983.

The new action goes further, treating the news organizations as part of China’s diplomatic missions whose activities are regulated under the Foreign Missions Act. Enacted in 1982, the law is a legal tool intended to ensure equitable treatment for American diplomats serving in countries around the world, often under onerous government restrictions. It deals with everything from providing visas to acquiring property to extending diplomatic immunity in matters of criminal wrongdoing.

Last fall, for example, the State Department began requiring Chinese diplomats to give notice before they plan to have any meetings with local or state officials and with educational and research institutions. That move came in retaliation for similar Chinese government rules imposed on American diplomats. With the latest change, the department would have the power to impose similar restrictions on Chinese journalists.

American officials have become much more suspicious of the activities of Chinese diplomats and have increased scrutiny of their travels and meetings. In September, the State Department secretly expelled two Chinese Embassy officials in Washington after they were caught driving on a sensitive military base in Virginia with their wives. The expulsions appear to be the first of Chinese diplomats suspected of espionage in more than 30 years.

It was not clear why the administration decided to act now on the Chinese news organizations, although the administration official said the move reflected long-simmering frustration over the forbearance shown to Chinese official media in the United States, despite evidence that the organizations serve as a front for intelligence agencies.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressionally mandated agency, warned in its report in 2017 that “Chinese intelligence-gathering and information-warfare efforts are known to involve staff of Chinese state-run media organizations.”

In recent years, a growing number of American officials have discussed imposing strict visa reciprocity on Chinese news organizations after Beijing increasingly began limiting visas and residence permits issued to foreign journalists and curtailed the lengths of those documents.

Unlike Russia’s information campaigns in the United States, which have been artfully tailored to sow distrust in the American government and the democratic system, China’s media efforts in the United States have tended to reflect more traditional forms of government propaganda. Reports on CGTN or in China Daily, for example, are more likely to extol the country’s economic and diplomatic achievements than to denigrate American democracy.

Xinhua, which is China’s main news agency and serves as a channel for most major announcements, maintains bureaus around the world, with its largest in Washington and New York. It is common practice for many of them to produce internal documents, intended for consumption not by the public but by high-ranking officials.

Some disagreed with the action. “I don’t see any evidence that they are doing anything nefarious that would warrant this response,” said Maria Repnikova, an assistant professor at Georgia State University and the author of “Media Politics in China: Improvising Power Under Authoritarianism.”

China Daily, the English-language version of one of the main state newspapers, regularly publishes advertising supplements in newspapers around the country, including The New York Times. They generally offer an informative, if anodyne, view of world affairs refracted through the lens of the Communist Party.

“The China Daily advertisement insert is clearly labeled and meets our advertising acceptability standards,” said Ari Isaacman Bevacqua, a Times spokeswoman. “The New York Times covers China thoroughly and aggressively, and at no time has advertising influenced our coverage.”

However, some experts on China say China Daily pushes insidious propaganda onto foreign readers, especially in its attempts to whitewash vast human rights abuses against Uighurs, Tibetans and other ethnic minorities.

Sophie Richardson, the China director for Human Rights Watch, has repeatedly denounced China Daily. The paper, she said on Twitter last year, was “nothing more than a mouthpiece for a government that conflates peaceful criticism with terrorism, crushes peaceful protests, and arbitrarily detains shocking numbers of #Uyghurs and other #Muslims.”

One issue in particular drew the attention of the White House in 2018. An advertisement placed in The Des Moines Register highlighted the benefits of free trade for Iowa’s farmers at a time Mr. Trump was excoriating what he called China’s unfair trade practices.

Mr. Trump, in typical fashion, responded on Twitter.

Lara Jakes reported from Washington and Steven Lee Myers from Beijing. Edward Wong contributed reporting from Washington.



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Dining & Wine

Wines of the week: 8 from Washington State



Fancy a change from all those reliable, but perhaps a bit familiar European wines? Or looking for alternatives to those in your face New World varietals? Well, there is one thriving and substantial wine region that remains relatively unfamiliar to UK consumers and you need to hunt around just a bit to find its wines on the high street or online: the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

The region comprises two adjoining states that have very different wine making scenes: Washington and Oregon.

Next week we will look at Oregon, but first, Washington, which is the second largest after California and the most rapidly growing wine area in America. It has more than 900 wineries producing bottles from a range of grapes. For reds, mostly cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc and for whites, chardonnay, riesling and sauvignon blanc. The are produced in both high quality boutique wineries and more mass production operations.


Although it might feel quite remote, it is actually on the same latitude as wine producing parts of Europe and has massive potential for growth, given that serious wine making only really took off in the 1950s and 1960s.

The vast majority of production takes place in the extensive inland Columbia Valley, which is sheltered from the Pacific weather by the coastal mountain range and where high daytime temperatures and cooler nights encourage grape quality. And the wines are an eclectic mix that reflect the global dominance of classic European varietals, but also the origins of the many of the immigrants who first made their homes in the region and planted the first vines in the 19th century.

So, in order to expand our knowledge, what can we find out there? Well, as it happens, Majestic, that reliable high street chain, does have a couple of very good introductions to Washington wines. The Eight Thousand Lakes Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (£9.99 or £7.99 if bought as part of a mixed six bottle purchase; majestic.co.uk) is very different to either French or Kiwi sauvignons: it is restrained and subtle, with mealy, almost savoury but refreshing citrus flavours; an excellent, all purpose fridge door white.

And the Song Sparrow Merlot, 2016 (£10.99 or £8.99 if bought as part of mixed six bottle purchase, majestic.co.uk) may revive your interest in a grape which can be a little dull on its own but was the first to really gain favour in the region. This is smooth, but youthful and plummy, with lovely brambly and mocha fruit. It’s one to uncork with a midweek pizza or pasta dish.

Back among the whites, riesling is a popular grape in Washington state and the Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2018 (£12.99 ministryofdrinks.co.uk; £13.95 ndjohn.co.uk) has a wacky label, zesty citrus and lychee flavours and refreshing clean minerality, just the right side of dry. A good match for seafood, particularly with Chinese or South East Asian spicing. The wine is made by Charles Smith, a former rock band tour manager turned winemaker, who is also responsible for the excellent Vino Pinot Grigio 2013 (£9.75; normally £12.00, until February 18, morrisons.com) another excellent seafood wine, it is more redolent of Alsatian pinot gris than rather bland pinot grigio and has slightly spicy, lychee and tropical fruit flavours.

Moving onto reds, Morrisons also has the same winemaker’s CS Substance Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (£12 normally £15 until February 18 morrisons.com) a typical beefy, ripe, spicy cabernet sauvignon for which you might pay a lot more elsewhere and a fine partner to substantial casseroles to see us through the rest of winter.

Cabernet sauvignon is probably what Washington mostly does best and there are some other serious options around, such as the big, beefy, concentrated Chateau Saint Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (£16.50 greatwesternwine.co.uk) from reputedly Washington’s oldest winery. At a glance, the bottle has quite a Bordeaux-style label and very claret-like cedar and vanilla flavours underpinning the brambly fruit; again a good casserole or baked pasta wine.

But if you have a bit more to spend for a special occasion and are looking for even more Bordeaux-style flavours at still less than Bordeaux prices, then check out the Red Mountain Hedges Family Estate 2013 (£35 robersonwine.com), a blend of several varieties, but dominated by cabernet and merlot; an elegant, well-made wine from probably the most prestigious wine growing area, Red Mountain, which really demonstrates what Washington can do.

Naturally, one for roast red meats and fine, hard cheeses. And if Bordeaux blends don’t quite rock your boat and you are looking for something slightly more fragrant and succulent, then Washington can do the Loire as well: the Savage Grace Copeland Cabernet Franc 2017 (£20.95 cellardoorwines.co.uk) is juicy, succulent and shot through with minerality, but fulsome enough to match substantial foods.

So, a variety of styles and grapes to please different palates and different budgets, but next week in the neighbouring state of Oregon there one grape to rule them all: pinot noir.



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Video

Trump State of the Union guests never benefitted from policies he used them to boast about



Two people Donald Trump invited to his State of the Union address have little to do with the policies that he brought them there to amplify.

A Philadelphia fourth grader was surprised with a scholarship after the president highlighted his administration’s attempts to rescue students “trapped in failing government schools” with $5bn (£3.8bn) in federal tax credits for contributions to scholarship programmes. But Janiyah Davis already attends a sought-after tuition-free charter school and previously attended a $5,200-a-year private school.

The president invited a formerly homeless veteran to tout the success of a programme that provides tax breaks to companies hiring in poor neighbourhoods. But Tony Rankins doesn’t work at a site taking advantage of the breaks and never has done so, according to the Associated Press.


Critics have criticised the president for relying on his two guests to manipulate support for significant tax breaks for wealthy people that would support his signature proposals.

At his State of the Union address, the president said: “After struggling with drug addiction, Tony lost his job, his house and his family. He was homeless. But then Tony found a construction company that invests in Opportunity Zones … He is now a top tradesman, drug-free, reunited with his family.”

 

A few days later, the president spoke at the Opportunity Now summit in North Carolina to sing the programme’s success, even inviting Mr Rankins to that event as well.

Mr Trump said: “One of the Americans benefitting from this gusher of new investment is a man who became very famous the other night because I introduced him during the State of the Union: Army veteran Tony Rankins of Cincinnati, Ohio. … After struggling with drug addiction, Tony lost his job, his house, his family. And he was homeless. He lost everything. But then Tony found a construction company that does work in Opportunity Zones. And the company saw Tony’s great skill and talent.”

Mr Rankins thanked the president for signing the legislation, saying that “without it, I wouldn’t be standing here before you right now”.

The president said that the construction business where Mr Rankins is employed “is working to help 200 people rise out of homelessness every year by investing in the Opportunity Zones”.

Mr Rankins started a job four months before the US Treasury Department listed eligible neighbourhoods. He’s currently working at a site that is eligible for Opportunity Zone credits but has not used them, the Associated Press reports.

Travis Steffans, the CEO of the company that Mr Rankins works for, said the tax break that has routinely helped him employ people like Mr Rankins was passed in 1996 under then-president Bill Clinton.

The Opportunity Zone program, part of the president’s 2017 tax package, offers developers significant tax savings if they work in 8,000 designated poor neighbourhoods. But critics warn that the programme stands only to benefit wealthy developers while fuelling gentrification and pushing out the black families that the president said would benefit most from the programme.

Mr Trump’s “school choice” proposal provides up to $5 billion in federal tax credits to effectively use taxpayer money to support private school education, without adjusting a budget for public schools, largely attended by more students from lower-income families than private schools that require significant tuition fees. 

Janiyah’s mother Stephanie Davis told The Philadelphia Inquirer that she doesn’t view her daughter’s current school  “as a school you want to get out of at all. I view it as a great opportunity”.



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Business Energy & Environment

Calculating Air Pollution’s Death Toll, Across State Lines


Here’s further proof that air pollution ignores borders: In most states, about half of the premature deaths caused by poor air quality are linked to pollutants that blow in from other states, a new study found.

The study investigated the sources and effects of two major pollutants that harm humans, ozone and fine airborne particles, in the lower 48 states from 2005 to 2018. It found that in New York, nearly two-thirds of premature deaths are attributable to pollution from sources in other states. That makes the state the largest “net importer” of early deaths, to use the researchers’ term.

Ozone and fine particles are a result of fuel burning, so the analysis, published Wednesday in Nature, could have implications for policymakers looking for ways to reduce air pollution, and premature mortality, by regulating so-called cross-state emissions. So far only emissions from electric power generation are regulated in this way, but the study looked at six other sources of pollutants, including other industries, road transportation, aviation and commercial and residential sources like heating for homes and buildings.

“We know air quality is bad in many ways, and if we want to continue to improve it we need to understand what the causes are and what the effects are and to target the biggest contributors,” said Steven R.H. Barrett, director of the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an author of the study.

Scientists have long known that air pollution from one area can have effects elsewhere. Damage to forests by acid rain in the Northeast in the 1960s was linked to coal-burning power plants in other regions, for example.

The new study, by Dr. Barrett, Irene C. Dedoussi of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and others, quantifies the effects of each state on every other, using pollution data and computer models to track pollution in the atmosphere. “It’s putting a head count on it,” Dr. Barrett said.

The study found that the states that emitted pollution that caused the most early deaths in other states were in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Ozone and fine particles emitted in Wyoming and North Dakota, for example, lead to few deaths per capita in those states. But the pollution is carried eastward by the prevailing winds, leading to more deaths elsewhere.

The analysis also found a decline in cross-state deaths linked to electricity generation since 2005, an indication that pollution regulations, like the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, are working. The rule, established in 2011, requires about 27 states, mostly in the eastern half of the country, to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which lead to formation of ozone and fine particles.

Premature deaths linked to pollution from road transportation have also declined with the adoption of more efficient fuel standards and emissions controls. But the declines have not been as great as with electricity generation, Dr. Barrett said, because it takes years to replace the nation’s entire fleet of vehicles with cleaner ones.

As a result of the drop in early deaths linked to power generation and road transportation, the overall effect of cross-state pollution has declined, the study said. But at the same time, residential and commercial emissions are now the leading cause of cross-state early deaths, a finding that came as a surprise to the researchers.

“They may not have seemed so important 10 or 20 years ago, but these commercial and residential emissions now look really important, in big part because progress has been made in other sectors,” Dr. Barrett said. “Future research and future policy are going to have to bear down on these emissions and start controlling them,” he said.

The study did not look at pollution from wildfires, which increasingly contribute to poor air quality in the United States. “They are currently less important for the long-term averages that affect human health the most,” Dr. Barrett said. “That might change in the future if wildfires become more common under a changing climate.”

Michael Brauer, an environmental health specialist at the University of British Columbia in Canada who was not involved in the study, said the findings show that work needs to be done to reduce pollution from smaller sources like commercial buildings and homes.

Decreases in early deaths from pollution from larger sources like power plants, he said, are “a result of the effectiveness of federal regulations.”

“The cross-state rule was really pretty effective,” he added. “We need to not relax rules like that.”

Dr. Barrett said that it was not until he and his colleagues did all their calculations that he realized how much progress had been made on electric power generation. “It really has been the thing the E.P.A. has been working hard on improving,” he said.

Efforts by the Trump administration to overturn some regulations — although the White House has supported the cross-state rule — are potentially concerning, Dr. Barrett said. “It could be pretty worrying if those changes have time to take hold,” he said.

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